2 Mar 2006

Poverty, poor education, and the growth of tourism spark sexual exploitation in Fiji

8:33 pm on 2 March 2006

The head of the Save the Children Fund in Fiji says girls are being sexually exploited because of poverty, a lack of education and the growth of the tourism sector.

Irshad Ali says some child adoptions and early marriages have also led to the sexual exploitation of children.

Save the Children Fiji helped compile a report which was launched by the Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau in the capital, Suva yesterday.

The report, called the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, highlighted an increasing trend in the number of child sexual abuse cases in the indigenous Fijian community.

Mr Ali says the problem was worse than he expected.

"What was more shocking is the manner in which these things are promoted and occurring. Also the fact that the victims are getting younger and younger and the fact that the numbers appear to be increasing every day."